As a follow-up to the slowdowns yesterday. If you remember, I added two things to the blog. One was just a plugin to remove the “nofollow” from comment links. The other was Gravatars.
Around mid-morning I noticed the site was really getting slow. Just before noon my host emailed me and let me know my site was beating the crap out of the server and I needed to do something about it. (They were very nice about it, considering.) By the time I checked on it the site was crashed.
For the next half-hour I experimented with settings, turning features on and off. I enabled Akismet. I upgraded Akisment to the latest version. I disabled Gravatars. I disabled comments. Nothing worked. Finally I disabled the “nofollow” plugin. I didn’t expect that to have any effect, since the plugin is very small and what it’s doing is supposedly simple, but I was out of ideas at that point.
I’m not sure what was wrong with that plugin, but it was devouring system resources at an outrageous pace and is simply not fit for use on any blog with more than the most modest traffic. Kind of shocking, really. I should have suspected it right away (because it was new) but I just couldn’t imagine something so simple going so wrong.
Ah well. Lesson learned. Nofollow is back in effect, so the site is once again treating everyone like a spammer. Grrr. I could fix this with a very, very minor change to the WordPress source, but I dislike branching off like that.
In contrast, Gravatars are looking good. I messed around with the theme to make them fit in a bit more. To get things working the way I wanted I was forced to leave the rigid safety of <tables> for formatting and use <div>s instead. I have a horrible time getting <div>s to behave in a predictable way on the various browser flavors. I’m too old school for this newfangled CSS crap.
At any rate, I’ve got the changes in place. Tested with Firefox, IE and Opera. Looks good as far as I can tell. Please let me know if you spot any problems.
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